AUSTIN (KXAN) — From rent and electricity bills to groceries and gas, everything has gone up in price. Today, parents have one more thing they need to budget for: their kids’ back-to-school supplies.
Local organizations across the area like Foundation Communities are working to fulfill that need. However, these nonprofits and groups are also having to adjust to the cost changes.
“We really want to be able to just ease that burden,” said Jackie Cuéllar, the director of corporate and volunteer engagement at Foundation Communities.
For the last decade, the organization has worked to provide thousands of kids with school supplies, helping families and parents like Jennifer Easterly.
“The back-to-school drive takes a weight off my shoulders,” explained Jennifer Easterly, a mom of three.
After spending six months in a shelter, she and her family now call a Foundation Communities complex home, and for the last two years, have gotten some relief for her wallet when it comes to school supplies.
“It’s almost like Christmas,” Easterly said about the group’s back-to-school drive. “School uniforms for my three children, it gets very expensive, like I have to start saving now to make sure that I can have their school clothes, so … I do not have to worry about school supplies.”
This year, experts report parents could spend up 8% more than this time last year or $661 per student.
“We anticipate that the average family will spend about $150 on back-to-school supplies for one kid,” Cuéllar said, “so you multiply that by multiple kids, and the costs really go up, but it could be to where it’s the same amount as your monthly rent.”
It’s money parents like Easterly do not have.
“We really want to ensure that this campaign is successful, so that these families don’t have to worry about the additional costs,” Cuéllar said.
The nonprofit needs $70,000 by the end of the week for its back-to-school drive, which kicks off next week. Foundation Communities representatives said they need that money to give out pencils, notebooks and binders to the 700 kids expecting it from them.
The drive primarily helps elementary school students. As of Tuesday morning, the nonprofit raised just over half of its goal: $41,532.
They plan to start handing out supplies next week and hope to reach the goal, so they can continue to help parents like Easterly.
“You have to plan financially ahead of time to be able to buy all those things,” she said, “And to know that I don’t have to worry about school supplies is a weight off my shoulders.”